Often, the opinions and judgment of others take center stage in our lives. We devote a lot of energy on how the world perceives us. That ultimately leads to our own perspective, decisions, and beliefs getting subtly swayed. Not saying that we must be arrogant enough to brush aside someone’s outlook that differs and doesn’t align with ours, but not so gullible to let anybody decide and plan the way for us.
A deep introspection is required before we do either of them.
This is not another story of how a woman should boldly place herself in a male-dominated world and how she must charge against the odds and unfair things that happen to her.
This is an account of those lessons that I have learned while I was on my journey to become a woman of self-worth. One who truly respects herself.
I have stopped thinking about validation
What validates me? Is it a successful career, a good relationship, lasting friendships or when I feel heard by someone? Of course, these things are wonderful to have. But, what if I falter on one or two of those things? Would I feel incomplete?
Only when someone says that we look good, we suddenly feel better. Only if someone says that we possess a talent, that’s when it comes to our face like an epiphany.
When we are appreciated, we feel confident. But, that’s that. When we aren’t, we shouldn’t feel defeated. There are better things to do.
At least, that’s what I have learned. You cannot be good at everything. You may not be appreciated at all. Still, you have to keep doing your work and most importantly, create value in the things you do. And, that’s what I have understood over the years.
If you truly believe in yourself and in the things you do, you really don’t need anyone to approve you of those. Probably, it is easier said than done. But, happiness can come only when you stop basing your life on the outside of you. It is always an inside-out process.
Career, relationship, they affect us, but not at the cost of changing our fundamentals. We should stop seeking acceptance from the world. Rather, we must keep doing things that we believe in, creating a better world for ourselves and for those connected to us.
And, someday people will take notice.
Finding a passion, learning and pursuing
Not that you have to be updated with the scientific breakthroughs or latest technologies. What matters is whether you are learning something new each day. Maybe, you have just started learning a new language or cross-stitch or an instrument, whatever it is.
But mustering the courage to learn something different, to pursue things that you have always wanted makes all the difference. There comes your confidence and the nerve to become the person you have always admired.
What have I learned in these years?
Nothing, out of the world. But I have started pursuing things that I wanted to do.
For instance, I have begun writing. I try to write as much as I can. It takes effort, it takes my time and mental energy. Sometimes, I have to push myself hard and at times, indolence becomes my second nature. However, the wisdom that I found reminds me to “Do the thing I want to do.”
It will be tough and it can be confusing while you try to find your passion. But, try things out there. Learn new stuff. There is so much to do. You never know when you might strike the gold.
I am still on a journey. Writing is just one aspect. And, I’m sure I will find much more and so will you.
You don’t have to say yes to everything
You have your own mind, don’t you? Then, you don’t have to say yes to everything. Accepting few things out of your comfort zone is still okay, but saying yes to please someone every now and then isn’t acceptable.
It took me some years to learn that. It is still difficult to say no. Nonetheless, I say yes to things which I would enjoy doing more than saying no to things I would hate to do.
I understand the reality is different. Whether it’s professional or personal, you might have to oblige to things which you wouldn’t willingly do. And, I understand it wouldn’t be wise to say no to anything you don’t like. Doing that might be hazardous to both professional and personal relationships.
Yet, the basic point remains the same. You don’t have to please anyone.
So, do what feels right and what your wisdom says. It works! As for the wisdom part, it will come with time. Only when you start saying no to certain, unwanted things in your life.
Compassion, Respect and Love for yourself
Finally, everything boils down to the essentials. Compassion, Respect, and Love. Many times, we begrudge our own lives. ‘We are not good enough,’ ‘how can he love me,’ ‘I don’t deserve that.’ Such things are detrimental to one’s growth as an individual.
Self-doubt is not a big deal. Happens to everyone. It comes in waves when things aren’t going right or the way we want.
The slightest disapproval from someone can ruin your entire day. And, the next moment when you are praised, you are the happiest person. Your mood swings like a pendulum. That happens because you expect more from others and less from yourself. Truth be told, you hand out your respect on someone else’s hand instead of you doing that job.
Being a woman, I understand we are born nurturers, so we try to nurture everything that comes into our lives. And, that’s an amazing thing to do.
Yet, we don’t have to forget ourselves while doing that. Having the utmost respect and love for oneself can make us the real giver.
If we don’t realize our worth, nobody else will.
Especially, as a woman, we tend to feel like the weaker sex. We often forget that we have an innate capability to take the right decisions. Since, we naturally focus on our instincts, which I think is strongly reliable, we must exercise more than often on this heartfelt intuition. Remember we are born in this way and we just get it.
Of all the things, the fundamental thing that I have learned is – to love and be loved, first I must build a great relationship with myself. This is the sole foundation of happiness.